Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Permit system for Indigenous Communities

The Australian Government today indicated its intention to reconsider the federal legislation that allows for the permit system that restricts entry into some remote Indigenous communities.

In Parliament today, the Minister for Families, Communities and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough indicated his personal support for the abolition of the permit system.

"I believe the time has come for the Federal Government to look at the legislation that we need to remove in the Territories and some States where we require people to get a permit in order to go to these communities," Mr Brough told Parliament.

"We can no longer allow the situation where children are being abused, where these various serious crimes are being perpetrated on people and where the full glare of Australia’s public, through its media, cannot be brought to bear so that Australians demand this no longer occur."

"It is time that the permit system be removed, I know the member for Solomon believes this, he called for it in July. I support his call for it and I hope that the States and Territories will also support this call."

Mr Brough later said that while there are a range of arguments both for and against the current system he had come to the view that increased public scrutiny was in the greater interest of victims and the disadvantaged in those closed communities.

The Australian Parliament can legislate in relation to the Northern Territory. Depending on the outcome of the Federal Government consideration, the Minister will also write to the other relevant jurisdictions seeking a uniform approach.